Eating yogurt may help reduce Type 2 diabetes risk

Top view of open yogurt container with spoon

March 12, 2024 — The Food and Drug Administration announced last week that it will allow yogurt producers to say that regular consumption of their products may prevent Type 2 diabetes, but labels must also include the qualification that this is based on “limited scientific evidence.”

There has been some research that supports this claim, Frank Hu, Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a March 5 New York Times article. For example, a 2014 study by Hu and colleagues found an association between regular consumption of yogurt—but not other forms of dairy—and lowered Type 2 diabetes risk. Hu said in the article that the live bacteria cultures in yogurt may reduce inflammation and insulin resistance.

Yogurt is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, and can be part of a healthy diet if it’s not loaded with added sugars, Hu said. However, yogurt is unlikely to prevent diabetes on its own, according to Hu and other experts quoted in the article.

To lower diabetes risk, Hu suggested consuming a dietary pattern such as the Mediterranean diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting consumption of products linked to increased diabetes risk, including sugary beverages and processed meats. Yogurt, he noted, is “not a magic bullet.”

Read the New York Times article: Does Eating Yogurt Reduce Your Diabetes Risk?

Photo: iStock / sasapanchenko